Buzzworthiness: The Birthday Burglary

Thanks to Grand Gamers Guild for providing a review copy of this game.

I know I’ve been gone for a minute, but here I am again. It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks, so here’s a review of

image by GrandGamersGuildSM

The Birthday Burglary is the fifth game in the Holiday Hijinks series, following The Kringle Caper, The Independence Incident, The Pumpkin Problem, and The Cupid Crisis (all previously reviewed here). The Holiday Hijinks games are all designed by Jonathan Chaffer, and all feature what amounts to an escape-room style game in just 18 cards themed around different holidays. In this one, you’ve just arrived at your birthday party to find everything is missing. So you’ve got to track it down.

The game plays similarly to all the other ones. You pull up a convenient web app, pull card number one, and start the timer. The web app will check your answers, and also has an area with extra information you might need to solve the problems – usually various codes like ASCII or Braille, since it’s unlikely you have those memorized. As you solve puzzles, you’ll unlock more cards. Once you’ve completed all the puzzles, your game is over and the app will tell you how you’ve done.

As with the other games in the series, I won’t tell you much more, other than the game introduces a new mechanism of being able to use different found objects later. Some previous HH games would refer you back to other cards, but the back of each new card you draw tells you a different object that is available for you, and the app will keep track of these for you automatically. This gives the game a feeling of a more computer-based escape room game where you have an inventory. That’s not necessarily practical with the design limits of 18 cards, so it’s interesting that they still found a way to incorporate that.

This is the first game in the series that is rated a 1/3 difficulty. There are a couple of puzzles I had to take some time with, but many of the puzzles were clearly a lot easier than others in the series. At the same time, because of the inventory mechanism, I don’t necessarily know that this is the best way to get into the series. You might play this one, and then be surprised not to find inventories elsewhere in the series (I can’t speak to the Groundhog Gambit, haven’t played that one yet).

At the same time, I’m happy that each game in this series has seemed different than the others, and each provides its own challenge. It’s nice to have one that’s not too brain taxing, and that I feel like I can get through fairly quickly. As an escape room game, you’re really only going to get one play out of it, but the low cost and footprint make it a good investment in time for you.

IS IT BUZZWORTHY? I do recommend any of the Holiday Hijinks games, and especially this one if you’re just looking for something a bit easier to play with the family. It’s pretty quick, it’s portable, and is pretty fun. You can order this or any of the other games in the series from the Grand Gamers Guild website.

And that’s it for today. December’s my traditional break month, but I’ve been so sporadic lately, I might post again during the holiday season. Hopefully, I’ll have a post-holiday gift guide around Christmas, but I don’t want to make any promises. Thanks as always for reading!


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